Thursday, April 30, 2015

Black Lives Matter? Prove It

For too long now, we as a society have stood and watched the rioting and wanton rage as some feel that cops are killing far too many black men.  Indeed, the hashtag and chant of "Black Lives Matter" has echoed just about everywhere.

But that's the problem.  It is just a slogan.

You really think black lives matter, do you?  How about holding a march against inner-city schools that have failed at least three different generations of black youth?  How about the same rally rising up against black culture which looks at the blacks that actually do educate themselves as being "too white?"

Don't want to tackle education?  Well then, how about marching through the streets demanding that every black biological father step up and really be a "father" in every sense of the word to their children?

Too hard?  Well then, how about rising up and driving out the criminal element out of black communities?  You know the one - they're black themselves, and they kill other blacks at a number that would make a racist cop drool.  Thousands.  Every year.  Unfortunately, the glorification of the gangster culture combined with abject intimidation ("snitches get stitches") keep the black population cowed into complacency and awaiting their next victim episode.

Black lives matter?  BS.  If it did, you'd actually DO SOMETHING to improve black lives.

No, black lives don't matter.  It appears rioting does.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Huffington Post Fans Riot Flames

After Monday night's violence in Baltimore, a night in which 15 police were injured, schools closed, a MLB game cancelled, 144 vehicles torched, 15 structures burned, and 200+ were arrested, and this is how the Huffington Post treats the situation:

Seriously?  You seriously have to bend that far over backwards to "justify the rage?"

If you think this can't come to your city, you're a fool.  And when it does, you can have the flame-fanners like the Huffington Post and just about every other liberal to blame.  


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

End the White House Correspondents' Dinner

A couple of days ago I wrote about how Washington was partying while Baltimore was burning.  The politicians and the media alike should be ashamed of themselves.  Alas, shame is just not something that exists in D.C.  Not at all.

As we kick off a new Presidential election cycle, I'd love to see a candidate vow to end the White House Correspondents' Dinner.  I'm sick of the overt bedfellows it no only displays, but flaunts.  I'm sick of the need politicians have to be entertainers, instead of leaders.  Finally, I'm sick of the pretentious behavior, all done under the cover of "fund raising."  A whopping $100,000 was raised in this last event.  A couple of Delta Waterfowl chapters could have done that.

Candidates, put killing this sham on your platform, and you're well on your way to having my vote. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Wild Defeat Blues, Take on Chicago Next

In a spectacular series, the Minnesota Wild bested the top team in the conference in 6 games.  The St. Louis Blues, who on paper were dominant in talent, had one area in which they could not outshine the Wild lineup, and that's in goal.  Wild Goalie Devan Dubnyk dominated the series, save for a horrific Game 4 in which he was chased early and a hard-fought Game 2 in which the Blues lived up to their lofty reputations.  In all other games, he was a puck stopping monster.

The series was also won via the efforts of Zach Parise.  While he led the team in scoring with 7 points over the 6 games, it was his hustle and tenacity that were most evident.  He clearly was the best player on the ice for the series, and the tone he sets for the rest of the team was palpable.  When Koivu finally hangs up his "C," it clearly belongs to Parise.  

Now off to Chicago, where a similar match up to the Blues exists; on paper the Blackhawks are significantly better than the Wild.  Where that isn't true is in the place that matters the most in the playoffs, and that's Goalie.  Chicago is decidedly worse than Minnesota, and Corey Crawford can be shaky.  If Dubnyk can stay hot and the Wild get enough shots on goal, the Wild can win.  They'll need to limit opportunities by Toews and Kane, but it can be done.

Go Wild!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Entertainment Trumps News

Here is an explanation from CNN as to why they chose to cover the White House Correspondents' Dinner over real news like the rioting in Baltimore:

A mere 45 miles away from the party, the unwashed were looting and raging with police.  The situation was so bad that officials asked that people attending the Baltimore baseball game not leave, as it was too dangerous for them outside of the safety of the stadium.

What is going on with our country?  It is bad enough that this event has evolved into an SNL episode, but to do so by making cozy those that are in power with those that should be speaking truth to said power just reeks to high heaven.  But then to layer on this gratuitous self-congratulatory behavior while a city a short car ride away riots is just sickening.

The President telling jokes is what CNN thinks is important, and that begs the question: what, and more importantly who, are these jokes and skits for?  

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Saturday Song Share: Yes - Love Will Find a Way

A nice 1980's vintage of perhaps the best prog rock band, ever:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

JFK's Goal for Fitness

In the 1960's, President Kennedy had a goal for our country around our activity and our fitness:

A couple of things on this:

  • When did we as a country begin to decide that gym was optional?
  • Have you ever seen a group of kids that came anything close to being in shape as the kids in this video?  And not a fat kid in the bunch.
  • How prescient were Kennedy's words at the 1:25 mark?  
I hope this film gets built, and more than that, I hope that the philosophy that it espouses gets enacted in our schools.  We desperately need it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel

Yom HaShoah is the day of remembrance of the holocaust in Israel.  At the appointed time during the afternoon the country's air raid sirens sound, and the country immediately stops what they're doing, comes together, and remembers:

Do you think us Americans could ever be united enough (or care enough) to pull off something similar?  


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Growth In Religion

Pew Research just completed an extremely interesting analysis of the growth and projections for different world religions.  It is fascinating reading, and a great recap is provided by the following:
A couple of things that stand out:
  • In the next 35 years, while Christians grow by shy of a billion people, Christianity is no longer the dominant religion as...
  • Islam nearly doubles during the same period
  • All other groups during the same period shrink as a percent of the overall population
  • In an interesting estimate, atheists and "unaffiliated" - a group seeming growing by leaps and bounds as our society becomes more secular - actually shrinks as a percent of the total. 

Note that Unaffiliated are fairly flat throughout the world in this period, but not in the US:

Here we see a massive defection from Christianity to Unaffiliated.  It will be interesting to see how this manifests itself in our society.

Monday, April 20, 2015

"The Covered Girl Challenge"

A high school principal in Ohio has cancelled a planned day for girls to wear a hijab to school.  

No, I'm not making this up.

In a desire to show solidarity with Muslim students in her school, principal Mindy McCarthy-Stewart hatched a plan to have her female students cover themselves for a day.  Dubbed "The Covered Girl Challenge," it took political correctness to a brand new high.  

This is absolutely astonishing to me.  In a year where we have a woman running for President of the United States comes an idea so repugnant to woman's rights that it takes them back hundreds of years.  Here's some insight: Islam DEMANDS women cover themselves.  Those that do not are at best ostracized, and at worst tortured and murdered.

Read that again - tortured and murdered for not covering themselves up.

In what kind of Liberal fairyland does one need to exist to divorce oneself of basic understanding and reason?  She's basically looking to eradicate intolerance by adopting a practice of a religion that is, at its core, intolerant.   

I guess we should be happy that Ms. McCarthy-Stewart didn't come up with "honor killing" or "genital mutilation" day.  

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Why Vote for Hillary? Well, Because She's a Woman

So interesting that for these college women - none of whom have known true sexism and have grown up in an environment that stacks the cards for them against their male brothers - all want to vote for Hillary simply because she's a woman.

Accomplishments?  Not necessary, because she's a grandma!

Capabilities?  Doesn't matter, it's time for a woman President!

Policies?  Unimportant - she has a vagina!

This is our next generation, folks.  Good luck to us all.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Saturday Song Share: Luther Vandross - Here and Now

Today we go back and take a second look at Luther.  Regardless of your opinion of him and his style of music, one cannot argue the depth of the man's talent.

Gone too soon, but he left behind so much for us to enjoy:

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fire Britt McHenry

ESPN reporter Britt McHenry has made the news recently based on her taped interactions with a impound lot attendant:

When ultimately confronted with how their employee treated another human being, ESPN suspended her for one week.  One whole week.  In the meantime, McHenry issued the usual non-apology apology:

“In an intense and stressful moment, I allowed my emotions to get the best of me and said some insulting and regrettable things,” the ESPN reporter said in a statement. “As frustrated as I was, I should always choose to be respectful and take the high road. I am so sorry for my actions and will learn from this mistake.”

How about maybe apologizing to the poor woman you viciously insulted and berated?  How about maybe calling her, or sending some flowers, or just being a freaking human being?

We have all known a Britt McHenry - beautiful to look at, but repugnant in behavior.  Her whole life people have fawned over her due to her looks, so much that she actually now believes that she is superior to all of us.  In actuality, she's nothing but a "mean girl," and likely has been her whole life.  Based on her "apology," we can likely expect her to continue to be one for the foreseeable future.  Thus, ESPN needs to jettison this bully, and fire her posthaste.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Best Trolling Motor Ever?

Check out the latest and greatest from the good folks at Minn Kota:

We absolutely live in some very cool times.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Are You Grabbing a Tent or a Mop?

While flying through an airport a couple of weeks ago on a layover, I happened to stop by the scene pictured in the photo.  Here, some traveler had spilled their Coke (no, it was not Pepsi - I was in Atlanta!), and some enterprising airport employee pitched a tent to warn others of the spill.

I would have considered such a scene as unique, but just a couple of gates away the exact same scene was replicated - spilled Coke, and pitched tent.

Those tents were pretty cool - they stood out well, and travelers weaved their way around them without any difficulty.  Likewise, the spill scene was rendered safe until the spill could be cleaned.  However, what would have happened if that employee who had pitched the tent had instead bothered to just grab a mop and completely address the problem?  The effort used to find and deploy the tent had to have been similar to the effort of finding a mop quickly cleaning up the spill (which still had to be done).  Problem resolved in one step, versus many.

Business is all about dealing with problems.  When they occur, are we gabbing a tent or a mop?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pat Condell's Guide to Being a Progressive

I've neither seen nor read a more accurate assessment of the current state of the "progressive" movement than this.

Nails it...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Amazon Dash - Another Step Ahead

I've been in the retail space for 20 years now, and regardless of where I was or what we were selling, I've had my eye on Amazon.  With good reason: at just under $90 billion in sales, Amazon is larger than the next ten biggest retailers, combined.

Amazon has always been on the forefront and pushing the technology envelope.  As such, things they've pioneered - product reviews, expedited shipping, free shipping, plus too many navigation and format changes to mention - have absolutely changed the way the people buy products online.

When you consider their size and innovation, you'd think the gap would have to close between them and their competition.  You'd think wrong.  Programs like their massively popular Prime membership to delivery via drones are opening their lead.  

Here's another solution that will increase the gap - Amazon Dash:

Crazy brilliant stuff from Seattle.  Again.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Favorite Bible Passage

I know it it a stereotype, but I've found that when compared to our evangelical brethren, us Catholics aren't much as Bible scholars.  Certainly there are some examples that do break the stereotype, but by and large, we don't seem to study the tome nearly to the depth that other Christian denominations do.

I was clearly an example of that.  While I consider myself a good practicing Catholic, if you asked me a couple of months ago what my favorite Bible passage was, I'd stammer.  I didn't have one.

I've been trying to get better at my Bible knowledge, via work with church groups and in personal study.  Though this, I'm happy to report that I have a favorite passage.  It's Luke 15, but perhaps not the parable that you think from that chapter (the well-know parable of the Prodigal Son).  For me, it is the parable of the Lost Sheep:

3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.  

I love this story, as for me it reflects God's love for me so clearly.  I am the lost sheep, and upon being found, God hoists me onto his shoulder in celebratory joy.  It is the same shoulder that endured the scourging and hauled the cross, and it is cut, battered, and splintered.  Despite this, I'm carried like I weigh nothing, and am not inflicting further pain.  But, clearly I am inflicting pain, and most especially at those times where I kick myself off His shoulder and head off to do my bidding - my sinning.

Despite this, He comes back looking for me, and when He finds me, up I go back on His shoulders where His celebration begins anew.

That is the depth by which our Shepard loves us.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Saturday Song Share: The Donnas - Take Me to the Backseat

About five years ago I was lucky enough to see this band live in an intimate environment (for my full Donnas concert review, click here), and here's one that they actually did not play.  Given how much work it is for the drummer, I can see why:

Friday, April 10, 2015

Minnesota Wild - NHL's Road Warriors

With a win last night against division leading Nashville, the Minnesota Wild have tied the NHL record for most consecutive road wins.  Basically, nobody wants to play these guys right now, as their confidence is as high as any team in the league, and they're erasing any kind of home ice advantage that exists.

For a team that appears to be peaking going into the playoffs (which start next week), nothing could be better.  

I've included a recap, below, if for no other reason than to show Marco Scandella's absolutely sick goal.  Shades of Dennis Savard's spin-o-rama...

Go Wild!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Harry Reid is Lying

Since the jump, Harry Reid's tale of how he got injured just did not make sense.  Broken eye socket AND broken ribs because an exercise band broke?  Hogwash.  First, such an incident would not result in such massive injuries in two vastly different parts of the body.  Second, those bands don't break.  I use one on a daily basis - it would have to be at least 100 years before it broke, and I guarantee I'm stretching it out a lot more than fragile old Harry.

So what really happened?  Better yet, why isn't this a story?  A leading US Senator took a massive beating from somebody, and the media seems hell bent on covering it up for him.

Something is rotten in Nevada...

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Easter and the Cycle of Life

Last week the StarTribune (yes, the secular, liberal, Red Star) published the following essay by Joel Warne of Wellspring Life Resources.  I wanted to include the entire essay here:

“Grandpa — you’re old!”

About once a week my 6-year-old granddaughter Lilly studies my face intently and after quiet reflection delivers this detached observation.

The other day I objected: “But, Lilly, I don’t feel old. Why do you think I’m old?” She shot me an incredulous look. “Grandpa,” she exclaimed, “look at yourself!”

Oh. Well, that.

I’m 59. The hair on top of my head started migrating to my nose and out my ears years ago. That was a jolt. I grew up in the 1960s youth culture. It’s weird to find yourself getting older. It’s a kind of death — the former thing passing away, ready or not.

In this life, we all undergo lots of deaths. At this moment, most of us are experiencing one or two things in our lives that are dying, or trying to die, though we might not want to let them. We experience, for example, the death of relationships, or the death of the kind of marriage we once thought we would have or the type of family we wish we had grown up in. Some of us have been physically, sexually or emotionally abused, and the way we used to be able to trust the world has died a little, maybe a lot.

As we journey, we don’t get to choose whether we will experience pain, disappointment or tragedy. They’re pushy traveling companions. Our only choice is whether we’ll run from our deaths, make war on them and struggle to keep them at bay — or experience them as part of a bigger story.

At this Easter time of year, churches take special note of an unusual, insistent pattern threaded through the world. It goes like this: Things live, they die and they’re reborn into something profoundly new. This pattern inserts itself everywhere.

In nature, the seed forms in the plant — a safe womb, sunshine, lots of leisure. Suddenly, it’s pried out and tossed underground. Buried, alone, forgotten. The end? Ah-ha, no! There’s a deeper life locked up in the seed that has to pass through a kind of outward death to be released into its full identity, the fruitful plant. Life, death, a lush rebirth.

The same pattern turns up in all of the world’s most profound shared secular and spiritual stories. Things are going great for our heroes until — oops! — calamity strikes and the game is over! But wait! An even more unexpected solution appears to deliver them into a new and deeper purpose.

The Easter idea is that this pattern of life, death and resurrection is laced through our world because it signals a rich, unfolding cosmic drama: the regenerating story of Jesus of Nazareth’s life, death and Easter resurrection. It’s a potent paradigm; our deaths aren’t a destination, a dead-end. Instead, they’re passages into a more profound experience of well-being and even transcendence — our full selves.

About 15 years ago, against my wife’s pleading, I lost what was for us a major boatload of money in bad investments. This loss exploded like a bomb in our marriage, setting off land mines we had crept around for years. A great deadness soon fingered us. I really feared we were done. We’d be married, but a core piece inside would withdraw for safety to our separate silent islands.

But we discovered a surprise. Each death comes pregnant with a resurrection. And we must make a choice. We can spend our energy trying to get back to the way things were before our deaths and cling to a fantasy life we wish was ours. Or we can make peace with our real life and move ahead with God in trust that a rich new quality of life is being sown in us. That’s Easter.

We both still wince, but agree that the lost money bought my wife a better husband! Ha! Our marriage passed through a painful death of old patterns and attitudes and emerged into a deep sweet spot we never could have imagined.

The interior truth of Easter week powerfully connects with the deaths we experience each day and the resurrections we need. We can’t escape our deaths. We can’t go around, over or under them. We have to pass through them. But in the Easter story, walking through them with us is a God armed with loving, well-timed and unexpected twists upward. Today, tomorrow and in our world’s arc forward, Easter life wins.

For someone like me, suffering the death of a job, this message could not have come at a better time.  Easter life wins.  It always does.  I just wish it would hurry up and do so.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Twins Season Over Before it Starts?

In a turn of events that seems only all too common for Minnesota sports fans, the Minnesota Twins' top free agent signing for the year and our #2 starter Ervin Santana has been suspended by MLB for testing positive for a "performance enhancer."  

The punishment?  80 games.

The loss is substantive across multiple fronts:

  • Santana is an innings-eater, and without him every 5 games our shaky bullpen will be subjected to exposure.
  • Santana was touted as a "good clubhouse guy," and for a franchise of up-and-coming stars, was deemed to be someone to set a good example.  All of that is obviously out of the window right now.
  • Santana is a lying scum.  He claims to not know how he ever came into contact with the Stanozol for which he tested positive.  It's not found in any supplements or natural food groups.  He must have got it from the toilet seat.
  • Instead of starting the year with the usual optimism reserved for opening day, the Twins now start with a black cloud, and while that cloud usually arrives by May, as Twins fans we get cheated out of a good month of thinking, "Maybe we can just get lucky and keep it close..."
Not a good way to start what will arguably be a very long and lackluster season.  Still, that season started yesterday, and at least for the next couple of hours or so, we're just one game out of first.

Go Twins!

Monday, April 6, 2015

"Baseball" Speech from Field of Dreams

My favorite movie of all time is Field of Dreams.  I think for anyone that loves baseball and/or misses his Dad, it has to be near the top.  I fall into both camps, and I never tire of watching the movie.

The film has its iconic moments, and perhaps none more well-known than James Earl Jones' speech about America's love of baseball.

Here's that scene, albeit reworked:

Play ball.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

When I was younger, I was deeply in love with Christmas, and the concept of a Savior being granted to us.  With age and perspective, that position has changed and the sacrifice of Easter has taken top billing as the most meaningful of all holy celebrations for me.

It is a come-back victory for the ages: Against all odds a sacrifice was rendered, a crushing loss suffered, and just when things seemed at their bleakest, a resurrection and a pathway for all souls to be reconciled to the Father.  It's like winning the World Series after being down 0-3, and it happens every liturgical season.

Victory!  Sweet, sweet victory, and with an associated reward that is impossible to measure.

Happy Easter, everyone. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Saturday Song Share: Van Morrison - Caravan

Taken from The Band's movie The Last Waltz, Van comes out and lights the stage on fire.

I've heard anecdotes that right ahead of this performance Van was suffering from a substantive bout of stage fright.  While I can't corroborate that story for this performance,  Morrison did suffer from this malady during the 70's.  Regardless if he did or did not in this specific instance, he seemed to be OK.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Indiana and Being Gayer than Thou

It has been astonishing to see the gyrations coming out of Indiana and their recent legislation.  The perceived slight to the LGBT community has come at a massive cost as folks rush to appear holier than thou (gayer than thou?) and condemn/boycott/troll the entire state.

And woe be to you if you happen to have a religious belief that, when presented with a hypothetical question about if you'd cater a gay wedding, has you elicit the WRONG ANSWER.  When that happens, you will be forced out of business, and your life ruined.  Because bullying, which is usually bad, is really good when it is necessary to get conformity of thought THE RIGHT THOUGHT.

In the meantime, just a ten hour flight away, there is an entire society that beheads, persecutes, and throws homosexuals off of buildings (and if the homosexual does not die in the fall, they'll be stoned by the waiting crowd).  And if you're a company like Starbucks, you can have a presence in these nations and not face any kind of political blow back (and certainly not any efforts to drive you out of business) because, well, because Starbucks...

War on women, war on GLBT, "hands up, don't shoot," etc. - all of it is posturing for the 2016 elections.  It has nothing to do with actually making things better.  In fact, people don't want things to be better - if they did, we'd be in the Middle East liberating women, homosexuals, Christians, and others that are being butchered.

No, we're happy to kill off pizza restaurants and prove to each other that we really are gayer than thou.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015